Where I grew up in Baltimore, we had peach trees in the backyard. These were dwarf trees. One had limbs angled just right for me to reach up and pull myself up into the branches. I never was much good at the jungle gym, but this tree I could clamber into like coming home. I’d look out through the leaves at the flower garden the Methodist twins kept next door. I’d look at the two kinds of new fruit tree growth that my father had taught me to recognize. There was the kind that shot straight up and grew fast and slick and needed to be pruned so that the other kind could thrive. And there was the slow, sideways, meandering growth. That grew bark more nubbly, that widened over years, that bore fruit.
And what fruit! Luscious, bright, and so tender under that velvet coat. White, linty shreds like little rags made the coat rough to the tongue, but after you rinsed a peach under cool water, it shone like satin. Each peach, when you broke it open with your fingers so that you could see the structure of soft fibers radiating from the pit, was a glowing sun.
As I grew, the aging tree bore less fruit each year. I left Baltimore and learned that there is nothing, nothing like a peach that ripens on the branch until it is perfectly fragrant and soft. A ready peach cannot withstand travel from an orchard to a warehouse to a truck to a produce bin to a shopping bag to a car trunk to someone’s house; it will be brown goo long before the journey’s end. An unready peach taken from the branch will not ripen into that peach.
So there is nothing for it but to keep a peach tree, if you can. A tall order for most. I don’t have one now.
Failing that, frozen peach slices can have more peach flavor and juice than a store-bought peach even at its peak. A grower can let a peach become much more fully ripe on the tree, then process and freeze it directly upon harvest. The same is true of many other frozen fruits and vegetables. The more delicate it is, the more likely you are to get better quality when you buy frozen rather than buying fresh.
So unless you have a tree brimming with ripe peaches, or a farmers market nearby where you can buy this morning’s peaches from a local farmer, I recommend buying a sack of frozen slices. You can get big bags at Costco for sure and perhaps at other big grocery stores, if you’re lucky.
If you want to save on freezer space, you can let some of the peaches thaw, and then mash them or run them in your food processor. Then refreeze in ice cube trays and store in bags. Or freeze the mash poured flat on a tray or cookie sheets, and then break that up and store it in a bag. If that’s more trouble than you want to go through, then just let the store hold onto the peaches for you until you’re ready for them — in other words, pay a little more and buy the small bag.
Leave some slices whole for garnish or so that you can cut them into chunks. So that you still have something that actually looks like a peach in or atop your finished dish.
I used frozen peaches to make these simple and delicious keto-friendly fat bombs. The cream cheese base seemed to blunt the vibrant peach flavor, and I thought a while on some sort of foil that would reactivate that fruity quality. Almond — a relative of peaches and all the stone fruits, by the way — has an earthy quality that provided the dynamic counterpoint I was looking for.
I swirled them together very lightly just before turning into the molds so that the almond and peach qualities would remain distinct. Don’t blend them together, or the peach — so delicate in so many ways — will be lost.
My son and I enjoyed these low-carb fat bombs as our dinner on Saturday while we watched some of his favorite YouTube gamers and got ready for our weekend Terraria gameplay. Even though it was a cold winter day, the high fat content — bolstered by the protein in the cream cheese and the almond butter — made these chilly treats a satisfying, nourishing snack-as-supper.
Peach and Almond Swirl Cream Cheese Fat Bombs
Eight fat bombs, each about 1 ounce (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 block cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup mashed peaches (thawed from frozen)
- 1 tablespoon powdered erythritol (powdering is optional)
- About 1/3 cup peach chunks (optional)
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- Food processor or mixer
- Silicone molds. If you don’t have these, any muffin tins will do — but butter them first. If you don’t have those, try ice cube trays. Butter them first.
Blend everything together except peach chunks and almond butter. Stir in chunks. Swirl in almond butter. Freeze in cups.
- Let everything come to room temperature.
- Put the cream cheese, butter, mashed peaches, and erythritol in the food processor and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a different bowl, so you can stir and scoop more easily.
- Stir in the optional peach chunks.
- Drizzle the almond butter over the surface of the peach mixture. Gently stir to make a swirl.
- Ladle about two tablespoons each into silicone muffin cups or bomb molds.